Ninjas and Dragons Preface
I made this deck because my play group hated Yuriko even though I loved the casino flips for damage. What I found making this deck was that I love it way more than Yuriko. This is a long read, and I tried to be concise. I bolded the cards for a quick read if you just want to skim!
Been a little hesitant to do a write up in case my OPS read it, but this deck is a labour of love and I want to share it. Although this deck seems simple, there is a bit of strategy to piloting it effectively and I will break down the strategy behind its construction and play style. You may look at its low average curve and think that it would be under powered, or that you want more big fatties, but this is actually the key to its strength, timing, and fun style of play.
Lots of Rocks
This is a 3 color 3 CMC deck, you want your colors to ALWAYS be fixed because the timing of this deck is its greatest strength and crucial to its strength. You want to be able to perform two actions on any given turn and having a rock in your opening hand will allow you to do this. You either want to cast a 1 or 2 cost creature and give it haste from the commander's activated, OR you want to cast your commander and be able to protect him on the same turn. If you're ramping hard you want to cast your commander and enable his own activated to generate a dragon that turn if the board is lacking blockers. It's also nice to be able to drop a hastened 2 drop creature and ramp in the same turn for four mana. This keeps you out ahead and able to cast your commander on turns 3, 5, and 7 or earlier. You never want to feel a lot of removal and have few land/ramp drops and sit around all game with 6 mana.
-I run 8 rocks to help color fix, consistently ramp, and it's nice having lots of mana for recasting your commander. When people see your huge mana pool they know you can just recast your commander. This can discourage smart players who may save the spell for creatures you can't recast or bigger threats. I also run Ragavan for treasure generation early so he is semi-ramp
Low CMC protection
This is a heavily commander focused deck, it's dragon generation is one of it's main units of offensive production, and defensively 5/5 flying blockers will save you from eating a lot of hits and trades. The dragons can come out early and people won't want to trade with you because they will lose creatures, and the trades will be in your favor damage wise. Don't piss off the guy with multiple 5/5 flyers. People WILL be eager to kill him and delay you to turn 5. Sometimes even though you can cast your commander turn three it will be wise to get your set up spells out that turn, and then cast your commander turn 4 in order to protect him on the same turn. This is another reason this deck is mana rock heavy, ideally you want 4 mana available turn 3 to cast him AND protect him. The spells I put in to protect him are:
Clout of the Dominus (shroud)
Robe of Mirrors (shroud)
Kaya's Ghostform (Immortality)
Lightning Greaves (shroud)
An Offer You Can't Refuse
Why double actions?
Being able to do two things in a turn is how you generate tempo and value while staying stronk. If you cast your commander while only having 3 mana up.. You may have a low CMC creature to cast next turn to make a a dragon, but if he is sitting there defenseless turn three (a turn when someone may be holding a kill spell) while you wait for the next turn someone will body your commander. Now you are waiting til turn 5, may take unnecessary hits because you didn't get a 5/5 out. Consider this instead:
Waiting for four mana, casting your commander and on the same turn dropping a 1 cmc all star like Reinforced Ronin, or Phoenix Chick who have their own haste, or if you have a 2 CMC haste enabler like Greaves, Crashing Drawbridge you can cast the commander and have an evasive one drop hit on the same turn and get a dragon out the same turn. If someone kills your commander you still have a 5/5 flyer to hold onto til recast. You can cast your commander and protect it and then get value next turn.
Dashing and repetitive ETB attacks
You want multiple ways to have creatures ETB and smack for dragons. Dashing is great because you can recast from your hand, and when the creatures aren't on board they aren't there to be wiped or targeted by removal. I run these dash style creatures because they are all stars:
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer - I dropped the money on him since he is a perfect in this deck. Ramp, card draw, repeated dragons, hard to kill. Wow, does it all.
Reinforced Ronin - ETBs over and over, the poverty version of Ragavan.
Kolaghan, the Storm's Fury - Higher dash cost but smacks hard evasively, if you need a blocker leave him out. The +1 per dragon can make two 5/5s into three 8/5s.
Death-Greeter's Champion - Dash with double strike, can come out turn 4 for two dragons after playing the commander turn 3. Noice.
Lagomos, Hand of Hatred - Creates 2/1s with trample haste on combat (gets by 1/1 chumps, pseudo evasion)
Loyal Apprentice - Creates 1/1 thopter with flying (evasion)
Daring Piracy - Creates a 1/1 with menace (evasion)
So Dragons are sweet, and the low CMC guys are cute but if your dragon engine is shut down you will be at the mercy of the table mid game while they send 2/2s, 3/3s, and 4/4s at you. These myriad creatures tend to be in that range and can block things one power less than their toughness. You don't really wanna trade creature for creature while you have them because they are so valuable to you. When you attack one player you get two others who etb and smack (if you have haste you can send it and generate three creatures and three dragons for SIX ETBS IN ONE TURN!!). Send the OG version at whoever won't kill it and other players will have to defend the copies to avoid giving you dragons and this will kill their lower toughness creatures, or you net you free dragons. Myriad itself is kind of like a ping if you don't have blockers, it lowers aggregate hp of table. They also have great synergy with Impact Tremors and Purphoros. Try to get the table low to finish off with flyers.
Banshee of the Dread Choir (4/4), blocks 3/3s and thins weaker board states, makes players discard to gain card advantage
Broodbirth Viper (3/3), draws cards to fill the low cmc hand you are burning through
Elturel Survivors (*/4), blocks well, if you are playing someone ramping hard this guy gets big, trample ensures damage going through
Tiamat's Fanatics (4/3), haste and myriad. This guy is his own haste enabler so you can drop him for 3 ETBs + whatever dragons enter
Warchief Giant (5/3), haste and myriad. His own enabler, and blocking a 5/3 copy isn't fun if you only have a nice creature who has less than 5 toughness
Wizards of Thay (3/3), instant and sorcery cost reduction, lets your sorcery spells have flash so you can hold defensive mana and then cast card draw on the end step before your turn
Alternative Damage Generation
Self explanatory. You are ETBing like crazy all over this deck with Ninjas, Dragons Tokens, Myriad, Dash spells, and those 3 things that give you evasive tokens. I run a vamp tutor almost exclusively to find Purphoros because he is hard to remove and the 2 damage pings are bonkers. Vamp tutor and Mystic Tutor are also good flex spots since you run a lot of creatures and they can find a kill spell, card draw since you are low curve, or mana for defense and closing out.
Purphoros, God of the Forge - An absolute unit. even if you are making this deck on the cheap this is a MUST INCLUDE IMO. You just have so many ETBs and the non-combat damage will lower everyone else at the table.
Impact Tremors - Enough said. Non combat damage, and cheap enough to cast as a first spell in a two spell turn (remember, we love double actions).
Vampiric Tutor - I run this almost exclusively to get these two, but they are flex spots for card draw when your cards dry up, can grab a sol ring so you can cast commander again after he dies, or removal/counters
Final Parting - Go dig up Purphoros AND drop Anger into your GY and have haste for the rest of the game only stopped by GY hate.
Low curve deck, it's important to reload often. I tried to get 4 CMC ones because they net 3 cards and if your commander dies turn 3, take a beat, get your extra land out, draw 3 and rebuild next turn. Your mileage may very, feel free to toss in a Rhystic Study, or a Black Market Connections. I'm running those in other decks and didn't go balls out for this deck, it's just my pet deck. You will want a lot of draw to rebuild after board wipes/removal while you are burning through the low CMC curve. Depends on your meta and how punishing they are. If you face a lot of removal maybe drop a slot or two of fun stuff for more draw to ride the waves.
Syphon Mind - 3 cards and -1 card for everyone else. Banger.
Read the Bones - Scry 2 draw 2
Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow *f-etch*
Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer
Ninja of the Deep Hours
Baleful Strix - Ninja him back into your hand m8
Mystical Tutor - Flex spot for card draw if needed
Vampiric Tutor - Flex spot for card draw if needed (Hello Rhystic study, Mystic Remora!) If you drew Purphoros or Impact tremors earlier then go get card draw! If your commander was killed once or twice go grab a sol ring for further recasts or to have a bigger pool when you rebuild.
Faerie Seer - ETB scry 2, return to hand with ninjas, scry more and dig for what you need
Augury Owl - ETB Scry 3, return to hand with ninjas, dig for card draw or answers
The cheaper cost the better, I may add Rapid Hybridization to lower the curve over something else, but I don't like giving people chump blockers if it prevents me sending a hasty guy out to make contact for a dragon
Go for the Throat
Feed the Swarm
An Offer You Can't Refuse
Vampiric Tutor (flex spot)
One infinite Combo
A free haste enabler (Lightning Greaves, Fervor), Breath of Fury, a dragon on board, and a creature ETBing making one generates infinite combats provided there is nothing preventing you from getting combat damage through. I won't write it all out, look it up. It's a combo requiring set up so it isn't SO cheap and annoying. If you have a ping source like Purphoros/Impact Tremors you can crank out a lot of ping also even if it can't go truly infinite. Ping the guy with flying blockers down while killing others and hopefully he will be low enough you can send 5x 5/5 flyers and end it etc.
-Fervor/Greaves/Anger in your GY/Urabrask the Hidden out
-One dragon on deck
-One ETB dragon trigger
Breath of Fury
Decide for yourself how many you want. Goro-Goro has his own so you will ALWAYS have access to it, sometimes the mana cost activation can be annoying so I run a few. These could be spots to make cuts depending on your meta. If you are in combo heavy meta run counters, in a big boi heavy meta run removal or counters, or more protection for the commander.
Goro-Goro and Satoru - the bic boi himself, you always have haste. Sometimes if the board makes sense hold off to give himself haste for a turn 4 for sure dragon etc
Anger - Get him in the GY, hard to remove haste enabler. Find it with Final Parting and you can grab Purphoros and put Anger in the GY for 5 mana. A real nice play. Another good way to get him in the GY is by using card draw and having to go to discard during your clean up phase. Getting card draw and Anger into your GY for hopefully rest of game is nice.
Lightning Greaves - Commander protection and haste in one that can be dropped turn 2 for your commander to make his own dragon turn 3 and be safe. Great card in opening hand if you are color fixed.
Fervor - Classssssic
Urabrask the Hidden - If you are wiped and coming down the stretch play this guy.. Opponents blockers come in tapped, when it gets back to your turn your commander can make his own dragon + any number of one drops you play from your hand you have been strategically saving for this. All the creatures coming in after Urabrask won't be able to block that turn and you can potentially get one to two dragons out the next turn if you have a good reserve of cards with the haste he also provides. Tempo breaking card in a tempo deck. LOVE IT.
Crashing Drawbridge - Blocks pings when needed, lets your commander come out hastened turn 3 for an automatic dragon
Ninjas and Evasive creatures
A lot of this is covered else where in here, scroll my list to see what I went with. Obviously these generate dragons, and return evasive creatures to your hand to either send out again with haste OR to hold onto for when a wipe happens and your commander is recast. Send the cheap 1/1 evasives with haste the following turn with Goro/Satoru's activated or on that turn depending on how much mana you have. I chose ninja's with cheap ninjitsu costs because I want to keep the curve low. Their are higher ninjitsu cost creatures that do more, but this deck is tempo focused. If you slow down this deck it may not be as strong as you like but will be ok late game.
Tune this to your meta. Consider twin flame and other effects and get creative, I personally run a lot of redundancy because two players in my meta are all over (unique fun decks, wild concepts etc), and I want to be a consistent player to hold our godlike friend accountable so we don't have stale 3v1s. I find consistency fun. Combined with a low curve i'm always doing SOMETHING.
This deck is a bit battle cruizy so I run a decent amount of interaction to close out down the stretch. I prioritize Dragon creation so I have beefy blockers and something to keep my HP from dropping from turns 3-8. The pings will lower the HP of everyone on board except me, and my wall of dragons and their evasive smacks can keep people in check. I want to hit turn 7 and be above the table by 10 or so hp (provided I'm not eating tons of non combat damage). Sometimes I will threaten whoever is using non-combat damage with one or two 5/5s hitting them to diplomacy my way into a nice spot to try and close out. Smart players will threat assess correctly so that is why I have all the hexproof/counters/threats for diplomacy. Also the faster the lands the better, I have some crap lands in here I'll upgrade eventually but timing is key on this thing. Good luck!